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iHEA News - March 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017   (0 Comments)

iHEA News
March 2017

To view a PDF version of this newsletter, click here.

Welcome to the new iHEA newsletter! If you have ideas on content that can be contributed, please contact us at

iHEA News is the official newsletter of the International Health Economics Association.

Executive Update

Innovations for the Biennial iHEA Congress: Message from the Chair of the Scientific Committee, Denzil Fiebig

As part of the transition within iHEA, several innovations are being introduced in the organization of the biennial iHEA Congress. Having a Scientific Committee (SC) that is much more proactive is one such initiative. There are two components to the new SC: Program Chairs and a Review Panel.

The Program Chairs include members of the iHEA Board of Directors, Boston Local Organizing Committee and other iHEA members who are highly regarded for the quality of their research and who have expertise covering the full spectrum of fields within health economics. There are two or more Program Chairs overseeing each of nine identified broad health economics fields.  They have arranged a number of ‘Special Organized Sessions’, which have attracted speakers who are prominent in emerging and innovative areas of health economics research to address ‘hot topics’. The Program Chairs also identified topics that are seen as particularly important, which were included in the open call for abstracts, and will select the best of the submitted abstracts on these topics for a series of ‘Special Invited Sessions’.

Nearly 2,000 individual abstracts and organized session proposals were received for the Boston congress from about 1,500 individuals in 75 countries – a record number of abstract submissions for an iHEA congress! 

The Review Panel includes over 150 experienced health economists; each of them has reviewed about 40 abstracts that relate to research in their specific area of health economics expertise, ensuring that this was a truly peer review process. The Program Chairs will play a critical role in organizing accepted individual abstracts into coherent sessions and shaping the overall structure of the congress program in their fields of health economics.

In addition to the special organized and special invited sessions, there are a number of other innovations in the Boston congress program:

  • The Student Paper Prize has been modified so that the prize now includes subsidized travel, accommodation and registration for the next iHEA Congress to present the paper in a Student Prize Special Organized Session.
  • The concurrent sessions are slightly longer than at recent congresses to ensure adequate time for discussion of the presentations among session participants; each session will be 90 minutes, with a maximum of four presentations per session.
  • There will be no posters at the congress. Instead, there will be several concurrent sessions consisting of eight short oral presentations, which focus on key messages. This sort of presentation is sometimes referred to as PechaKucha, Ignite, a lightning talk or an elevator presentation. This method of short presentation is being increasingly widely used in academic contexts (see for example We anticipate that this initiative will not only enable presenters to benefit from more engagement around their research, as there will be plenty of time for discussion after the presentations, but could also assist more delegates to secure financial support from their institutions as they will be making an oral presentation.

The aim of all of these innovations is to promote a high standard of scientific quality in the iHEA Congress, to increase global engagement around health economics research and to provide opportunities for all, ranging from leaders in the field to students and early career researchers. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the enormous contribution of Program Chairs, the Review Panel and the Local Organizing Committee (Click here for more details on these groups). At the same time, the actual platform for accepting and reviewing submissions and the subsequent compilation of the program has been entirely redesigned. For this, the outstanding support and hard work of the Executive Director, Di McIntyre, and the entire management team, especially Sarah Stockton, needs to be gratefully acknowledged. 

Latest News

iHEA Student Prize Winners Announced

The iHEA Student Prize is to recognize excellence by students in the field of health economics. It was first awarded in 1999 and biennially thereafter to coincide with the iHEA congress. As from 2017, there will be a standing Student Paper Prize committee to award this prize annually to the Masters or Doctoral student paper judged as best in the award year. Each year the Committee will consider a short list of submitted papers evaluated by all of the committee members using similar criteria to that of the long established Arrow Award.  This year, fifty-six papers were received, and refereed by the Prize Committee.

On behalf of the Committee, we are very pleased to announce the 2017 Prize is being awarded to the joint student paper by Raf Van Gestel (University of Antwerp) and Tobias Müller (University of Lucerne) “Does My High Blood Pressure Improve Your Survival? Overall and Subgroup Learning Curves in Health”. The paper looks at learning curves in health, distinguishing between three types of learning when identifying overall learning curves: economies of scale, learning from cumulative experience and human capital depreciation. They find different types of learning are important for different outcomes, while cumulative learning has a great impact on survival.

Honorable mentions go to the 2nd placed paper by Till Seuring "The relationship between diabetes, employment status and behavioural risk factors: An application of marginal structural models and fixed effects to Chinese panel data", and third place paper by Myriam Soto “Incorporating budget impact analysis in the implementation of complex interventions. A case of an integrated intervention for multi-morbid patients within the Carewell study”.

The 1st prize is subsidized travel, accommodation and registration for the next iHEA Congress in Boston to present the paper in a Student Prize Special Organized Session chaired by the iHEA President, or Chair of the Prize Committee; a cash prize; and the offer (if the author wishes, and the paper is unpublished) of potential publication in Health Economics, subject to Editorial approval. The papers in 2nd and 3rd place each receive a cash prize and free registration for the next iHEA Congress. They are also invited to give brief presentations at the iHEA Congress Student Prize Special Organized Session.

Many thanks to all those who submitted papers for consideration, and to the Prize Committee for all their hard work. The next call for submissions will be issued later in 2017.

Student Prize Committee

Chairperson: Bruce Hollingsworth (Lancaster University, UK)
Tinna Asgeirsdottir (University of Iceland)
Rachel Baker (Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland)
Edwine Barasa (KEMRI-Wellcome, Kenya)
Nicole Black (Monash University, Australia)
Joseph Dieleman (University of Washington, USA)
Emma Frew (University of Birmingham, UK)
Toshiaki Iizuka (University of Tokyo, Japan)
Rowena Jacobs (York University, UK)
Mustafa Karakus (WESTAT)
Arturo Schweiger (Universidad Isalud, Argentina)

Kenneth J. Arrow (1921 – 2017)

Photo: Kenneth J. Arrow with former iHEA Executive Director, Tom Getzen

Kenneth J. Arrow, recognized as one of the most important economic theorists of the 20th century and the intellectual father of health economics, died on Tuesday February 21st, 2017 at the age of 95.

In 1972, together with Sir John Hicks, he won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, for his “pioneering contributions to general equilibrium theory and welfare theory”. To date, he is the youngest person ever to have received this award, at the age of 51.  Paul A. Samuelson, the first American to win the Nobel Prize in economics, wrote when Professor Arrow received the award in 1972: “The economics of insurance, medical care, prescription drug testing — to say nothing of bingo and the stock market — will never be the same after Arrow.”

Arrow is most well known in the health economics community for his seminal 1963 paper “Uncertainty and the welfare economics of medical care” (American Economic Review, 53(5), 941-73).  Describing the core elements of this article in his own words: “The market won’t work – it doesn’t work well in the health context. But something else supplements the market, and the thing I put stress on in the paper are the elements that put a non-economic influence on the market: professional commitments to provide a service, to engage in services that aren’t self-serving. Standards of caring decided by non-economic actors. … The common theme is that some people in the health market know more than others.” (From: An interview with Kenneth Arrow, Part Two, The Atlantic)

To view an interview with Arrow on how he came to develop his ideas on information asymmetry and his views on health systems in the 21st Century, that was undertaken for the 2013 iHEA Congress in Sydney, see

Bruce Hollingsworth, who conducted this interview, described Arrow as “very generous, and even in his 90s very sharp and with a superb memory”.

iHEA is privileged that Kenneth Arrow agreed to an annual award in his name to recognize excellence in health economics research.

Presentation of the 24th Arrow Award

Photo: (left to right) Ben Roin, Eric Budish, Heidi Williams and Adam Wagstaff (iHEA President)

The 24th Arrow Award for the best paper in health economics was awarded to Eric Budish, Benjamin N. Roin and Heidi Williams for their paper “Do firms underinvest in long-term research? Evidence from cancer clinical trials” American Economic Review 105(7): 2044-2085, 2015.  The awards were presented at a reception held on January 6th at the American Economic Association and Allied Social Sciences Association Annual meeting in Chicago.

Click here for more information on the Arrow Award.

New book by and about Alan Maynard

A new book was recently published about one of the world's most influential health economists, Professor Alan Maynard.  Alan was one of the founding Directors of iHEA and served as its President in 1999.

"Maynard Matters - Critical Thinking on Health Policy" was edited by Richard Cookson, Maria Goddard and Trevor Sheldon of the University of York.  This edited volume demonstrates the value of critical thinking about health policy and it illustrates how intellectual insight, wit and "purposeful provocation" can be used to achieve impact.  Short new pieces by colleagues celebrating Professor Alan Maynard’s contributions to academic and public life are followed by a selection of his own writings on efficiency and equity, quality and outcomes, health care financing, markets and competition, workforce, primary care budget holding, pharmaceutical purchasing, and alcohol & drug abuse.

The book is free to download in a variety of formats via this website:

His colleagues have also created a Maynard Matters blog page on which people can post their own comments and stories about Alan:

Some of the comments on the book and on Prof. Maynard, include:

“Alan is one of the world’s most influential health economists. His articles are classics in the field. It is a pleasure to revisit them.”

Prof. Alain Enthoven, Stanford University

“Insightful, entertaining and eye-opening …”

Prof. Lise Rochaix, Paris School of Economics

“Alan is undoubtedly the bravest and most decorated guerrilla warrior wearing the colors of a health economist, battling against much larger and stronger forces of privilege, prestige and power that determine how resources are allocated in health and social care.”

Prof. John Forbes, University of Limerick

We encourage you to download a copy of the book and to add your comments to the blog page.

Upcoming Events

Join us in Boston for the 12th World Congress in Health Economics

We are pleased to announce that registration for the iHEA biennial congress in Boston, Massachusetts from 7-11 July 2017 is now open. Early bird registration closes on March 31, 2017.

Click here to register now

iHEA Statement on Travel Restrictions to US

The iHEA Board of Directors is deeply concerned about recent restrictions on entry to the United States and about their possible impact on diversity at our upcoming congress in Boston.

iHEA’s mission is to increase communication among health economists across the world, and to foster a higher standard of debate worldwide in the application of economics to health and health care systems. Our membership spans 85 countries. Abstract submissions for our upcoming Boston congress came from 75 countries.

We view our internationalism as a source of strength and a means of promoting our intellectual development.  We also value diversity in other dimensions: race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, religion and disability.

To mitigate the possible impact of the travel restrictions, we are trying to expedite the abstract review process so members can apply early for visas. Please refer to for information on visas and invitation letters.

Career Opportunities

We hope that everyone has had a chance to view the new iHEA Career Center, located on our website. The Career Center allows you to post your job openings and fellowships, find potential candidates and search new positions. It is open to members and non-members alike. You are able to search by Keyword, Country, Organization, Job category and more. We encourage everyone to click here  to view this wonderful resource. We do hope that you utilize this tool and should you have any questions, please reach out to

Not already an iHEA member? Click here to learn more and join online.

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The International Health Economics Association was formed to increase communication among health economists, foster a higher standard of debate in the application of economics to health and health care systems, and assist young researchers at the start of their careers.

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